Governor Char-LIE Baker
Money Laundering Scheme Part 1
by Dianna Ploss
Special to the Broadside
Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) has received at least $156,000 in campaign contributions from political or state employees whom his administration appointed or hired. In effect, Governor Baker is laundering Mass. tax dollars into his campaign by giving government jobs to his political donors, who end up donating part of their salary back into his campaign, usually after they are hired. This goes against Governor Baker’s own pledge during his 2014 campaign in which he promised to stop “insider employment practices” and “root out patronage hires.”
The funneling of tax dollars into political campaigns works like this:
A candidate gets elected. He or she gives a government job to campaign donors, friends, and supporters. Their salary is paid via Massachusetts tax dollars. These new government employees then use that money to give campaign contributions to the politician giving them the job/promotion in the first place.
This seems to be a massive pay-to-play scheme in which friends, donors and supporters receive jobs, promotions, and/or political support from Charlie Baker. This dates back to his first run for office.
Recently, the Boston Globe reported that Charlie Baker and Michael Heffernan [Secretary of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance] hired their neighbors, political supporters and golf buddies for high-paying jobs without any prior experience in the industry. These $100,000+ jobs with pensions did not previously exist.
Additionally, these hires took place during a hiring freeze imposed by Governor Baker. Special exception was made by his administration.
Christopher Harding was one of these new hires and he is a perfect example of a hired state employee funneling money into the campaigns of his employer. Christopher Harding and his wife each donated $1,000 to Michael Heffernan’s campaign for state treasurer in 2014. Furthermore, they donated $1,500 to Charlie Baker’s campaign. Christopher Harding was hired by Michael Heffernan as chief of staff at a taxpayer-funded salary of $140,000 per year, $33,000 more than any other entry-level COS at the time.
We investigated further and found a pattern of potential patronage hires/promotions spanning Governor Charlie Baker’s term. This potential government abuse requires further investigation to determine the entire scope and breath of the alleged corruption.
Charlie Baker received at least $156,000 from state employees that he hired for high-ranking government jobs. There could be significantly more taxpayer money donated from state employees, according to OCPF filings.
For example: Donors to political campaigns that work for the Massachusetts state government should list their employer as “the commonwealth of Mass.” Yet, many do not list their employer as the state government. This means that OCPF cannot accurately record or sort all donations as coming from the commonwealth of Massachusetts. This effectively hides the total amount of money Governor Charlie Baker receives from his own state employees. Additionally, state employees use a loophole in the law allowing their spouses to make matching campaign donations which essentially doubles the amount coming from one individual.
Here’s a perfect example: Anne Manning-Martin is a deputy superintendent at the Department of Corrections. She is also a Baker-supported Peabody city councilor. She has donated a total of $2,075 to Governor Baker and $1,025 to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. Manning-Martin lists her employer as the “Department of Corrections” for four of these donations. However, Manning-Martin lists her employer for the majority of her other donations as “retired,” “no listing,” “City Councilor,” or “Manager.” This means that most of her taxpayer-funded donations will not be designated as being received from a state employee.
Additionally, her husband John Martin is a state employee and donates extensively to Governor Baker. As an employee of the MBTA, John Martin donated $1,500 to Governor Baker’s political campaign and another $900 to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
Another example is Carolyn Kain, the executive director of The Autism Commission. Prior to her March 26, 2016 appointment by Governor Baker, Carolyn had a history of donating to Democrat Mayor Thomas Menino. After her 2016 appointment, Carolyn donated $2,000 to Governor Baker’s campaign.
Following her August 10, 2015 appointment to executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants, Mary Truong has donated $2,700 to Charlie Baker’s campaign and $490 to Karyn Polito’s campaign.
And, yet another pay-for-play participant is David Abdoo. He is a current Baker-supported, Lawrence city councilor. He was promoted to the MBTA as chief of staff in 2018 after donating $1,200 to Governor Charlie Baker and $200 to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
Finally, Colleen Maloney. She was promoted (with salary increase) to program coordinator at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security in 2015 from a constituent services aide to the governor. After her promotion, she donated $1,000 to Charlie Baker’s campaign. She has also made minor contributions to Karyn Polito.
It is my view that Governor Charlie Baker broke his 2014 pledge to stop hiring/promoting government employees based on their donation history to his political campaign accounts.
Furthermore, it appears that Governor Baker is routing taxpayer dollars to his campaign account via the creation of new, high-paying government jobs. He also seems to be giving existing, well-paying government jobs to friends, donors, and supporters who in turn donate part of their taxpayer-funded salaries to the Baker Campaign Committee.
Bottom Line: If Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito want to avoid accusations of patronage hires and misuse of taxpayer monies, they should return all campaign contributions made by their state employees, political appointees, and cabinet members. ¨